New redistribution proposal would create a Latin American majority by voting age in the 14th | Local
A new map from Washington Redistribution Commissioner Brady Piñero Walkinshaw creates a Latin American majority district for citizens of voting age in the Yakima Valley.
A report released last week by a voting rights expert said the preliminary maps released by the four state commissioners would not allow the election of candidates favored by Latinos, even if each map included a majority Latino district -american in the Yakima Valley. The gap could violate federal voting rights law, the report said.
In a region that displays a polarized vote, like the Yakima Valley, majority Latin American districts are not enough to ensure that Latino voters elect their preferred candidates, said the director of the UCLA Voting Rights Project. , Matt Barreto, in the report. Cartographers must consider the number of Latino voters, not the total number of Latinos, when drawing political boundaries, Barreto said.
The Yakima region district must maintain a Latin American majority based on voting age population totals to comply with federal voting rights law, he said.
The state could face a legal challenge if the new districts do not comply with federal law, Barreto said. Both Yakima City and Yakima County have faced legal action over the past decade.
Walkinshaw, a Democrat appointed to the bipartisan commission, said his new map makes the 14th a Latin American majority district by voting age and would cover the entire Yakama nation.
Walkinshaw said any map that doesn’t measure Latinos by voting age shouldn’t be considered by the commission.
“It is irresponsible to the historically underrepresented communities of the Yakima Valley to accept any proposal that violates their rights under federal law, and irresponsible to the people of Washington State to do anything that could leave the state so clearly vulnerable to litigation, ”Walkinshaw said. in the statement.
District 15 currently has a Latin American majority by total population, but not the 14th. Walkinshaw’s 14th would cover parts of Yakima, Benton, Grant and Klickitat counties. The 15th would cover parts of Yakima, Kittitas and Grant counties. The map would move the 13th westward, to Pierce, King, and Kittitas counties.
The Yakama reserve was united in the four draft maps released by the commission in September. The reserve is currently divided between districts 14 and 15.
The percentage of the population in the predominantly Latin American district of Commissioner Paul Graves would drop from 54% to 34% Latin American under the measure of voting age. The percentage in Commissioner Joe Fain’s predominantly Latino district would drop from 55% to 34% Latino. Commissioner April Sims would drop from 65% to 45% Latino. Walkinshaw’s original proposal would have gone from 61% to 40% Latino.
Sims said in Monday’s special meeting that she is committed to drawing a map that complies with voting rights law. Sims is a Democratic nomination.
Fain and Graves, the people nominated by the Republicans, did not discuss the matter and could not immediately be reached for comment.
Three of the four commissioners must agree on a single legislative card and a single congressional card by midnight November 15. The final two maps will be forwarded to the Legislature for review. The Legislature will have 30 days after the start of its 2022 session to make changes to the maps. If no changes are made, the board’s maps will become law as submitted.